Common Lies The Boss Uses To Steal Your Pay and Overtime


Most workers are owed overtime for all hours worked over 40 in one week. Unless your boss can prove an exemption, you must be paid time and a half for all overtime worked.  The most common lies we see:

1. Tell the worker that because he earns a salary, he isn't entitled to overtime. Many bosses and most workers think that once you're paid on a salary basis, you lose your right to overtime pay. That isn't the case.  Unless you are exempt, you are entitled to overtime.

2. Improperly classify the worker as an 'independent contractor.' Most people paid as independent contractors are really employees. If your company controls the time, place and manner of your work; if you can't work for other companies, can't hire your own assistants, answer to company work rules and the company sets your hours, the law would probably consider you an employee. If you signed an independent contractor agreement and think you're misclassified, you are losing more than your overtime. You are also paying your company's share of employment taxes.

3. Requiring you to work 'off the clock.' Bosses that force you to clock out for lunch, even if you work through lunch or they demand you clock out and stay late. Maybe there's no time clock at all, and you're asked to sign a timesheet every week saying you worked 8 hours a day. This is your employer trying to put the lie on you. That way, if you do sue and you signed a paper or clocked in and out, they'll claim you are lying about your overtime.

4. Combine non-exempt duties. Even if you have an exempt job, some employers are trying to save money by cutting non-exempt jobs and giving those duties to exempt employees. Double the work, same pay. If your managerial job also requires you to be the receptionist, you are probably entitled to overtime pay for your non-exempt duties.

5. Expect the employees to be on-call. If you have to jump anytime there's an emergency and if you can't use your "free" time freely, you may be entitled to be paid for your time on-call. If the company says you have to stay within a certain mileage from the office, that you must return calls within a short time (such that you can't even go out and cut the grass or go to the movies if you want), or if the calls come in every 10 minutes, so that doing anything else is impossible, you are probably entitled to be paid overtime for your on-call time.

6. Give off-hours duties. This is how it works: Employers require employees to arrive at the workplace several minutes before clocking in to put on a uniform or do other prep work, have before-hours or after-hours meetings, mandatory trainings, and other duties that are off the clock. If you're in this situation, you are probably entitled to be paid for any time you are mandated to be present at work.

Truly voluntary training, such as going to an outside company to get a certification you want to increase your chances of promotion, even if the company pays for it, is probably not work time such that you're entitled to be paid. If you're told that failure to attend the training will result in some adverse consequences, it isn't voluntary.

7. Expect the workers to do work from home.  If your job requires you to answer emails, respond to texts, or otherwise work from home after you leave, you are probably entitled to be paid for those hours. No, you can't charge for time you took a shower, ate dinner, or watched "The Office," no matter how much it reminds you of your own office, but you can charge for the time you actually spent working. A recent survey by Good Technology found that most Americans do an extra 30 hours of work per month from home.

8. Tell workers to wait before clocking in.  If your employer requires you to come in, only to make you wait until they need you before you're allowed to clock in, you're probably entitled to be paid for your waiting time. If you aren't told you can leave the premises, you can't do anything else like go shopping or eat lunch, and you must be available when the work comes in, you are working. If you work in the copy room and play online checkers while waiting for the next job to come in, you're probably entitled to be paid for that time.

9. Require you to “tip pool.”  If you are a waiter/waitress it is absolutely illegal to require you to share your tips with the kitchen staff or others in the restaurant that are not normally tipped.

10. Pretends not to know workers are toiling through lunch.
Your employer may look the other way if you work through lunch or after you clock out. That doesn't excuse the employer from paying overtime. They may claim they didn't know, but if the company suffers or permits you to work extra hours, you must be paid. That's why many companies have written policies that require discipline, even termination, for failing to report all hours worked.

So you think you aren't being paid correctly, contact us immediately:



John Holleman

Holleman & Associates

1008 West Second Street

Little Rock, AR  72201

501.975.5040 LR LOCAL

855.825.5916 TOLL FREE

501.975.5043 fax